Thursday, September 7, 2017

2.3kg, happy with that.

 So, I picked this red cabbage this morning and it was so dense and heavy I had to chuck it on the scales. 2.3kg, happy with that.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

Win lose or draw, I'm very pleased and excited with my efforts in the gardens at Glenvale Villas this year and would love for you to come and visit and share in my enjoyment of the gardens I've created for the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

Cheers and hope to see you soon.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Moroccan Spiced Carrot Dip.

Got a few excess carrots?

This might be the way to go!

'Moroccan Spiced Carrot Dip.
Roasting carrots intensifies and caramelises their taste, which works beautifully with this collection of sweet, sharp and spicy flavourings. Serve this dip as a starter with warm pittas, or as part of a colourful mezze spread with a beetroot dip and a red pepper and cherry tomato dip.'





Thursday, July 13, 2017

Toowoomba Camellia and Garden Show.

Looking forward to this, this weekend.

If you're at a loose end this weekend why not make the trip up, over or out and check out what is becoming a nice gardening show/event.

My Veggie Garden will be there but only as a visitor.

Hope to see you there.

Cheers

Stewart.



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Mini Me

My 'mini me' version of a Charles Dowding no dig veggie gardening.

Though Charles has been at this for several decades I've only just discovered him via YouTube. I'm guessing at about the same time he also discovered YouTube and started posting videos of his no dig gardening approach.

I've also managed to sneak in a small experiment here too. Using two different brands of compost. one being Hortico Compost from Hortico, no less.

The other is Osmocote Professional Compost & Soil Improver from Scotts.



Cheers

Stewart.

Love to hear from you, leave a comment ot question below.

PowerFeed for the winning.

 I've had self sown Borage growing in this same spot of the garden for years now and I've never bothered with it very much except to let it do its own thing.

This year I decided to do things a little different, mainly to see what the results would be.

When I say 'a little different' the only thing i changed was to give it a weed and to add a regular weekly dosage of Powerfeed by Seasol.

While I was expecting a general improvement in the growth and health of my Borage, I'd have to
say I'm more than stunned at the results of regular weekly feeding.

They have easily doubled in their overall size, now over a metre tall, and they look positively luscious from their health and vigor. 

So the overall message from this post for me is PowerFeed for the winning.

Cheers

Stewart.



Saturday, July 8, 2017

It's getting better all the time.

It's been a pretty good Winter so far. There's been dribs and drabs of rain, enough to get sown seeds up and no need for any extra irrigation save for a watering can here or there.

The winter solstice has been and gone and with longer days and shorter shadows I'll soon have reclaim enough garden from the shadows to start planting again.

I've made a list and will be posting shortly what is being planted in the not to distant future.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

TCoF Photography Tour

Anyone looking to improve their photography skills?

And loves a good flower and good gardens?

Then you'll want to get on board with this.

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Photography Tour.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Charles Dowding, No Dig.

Hi all, who's seen this guy?



Since he popped up in my Youtube feed some months ago I've been slowly turning my garden around to a 'Charles Dowding' no dig garden.

I say slowly because it takes a while to produce enough compost to get started with his method. I have four Gedye compost bins full to the gunnels, I have my tractor tyres full and enough raw materials for another pile waiting for some spare space to put it all together.

The few small areas that I have managed to hobble together are encouraging and performing well.

I'm hoping this will help me get through our hot Summers which, with my red soil, dries out at the mere mention of a hot day.

If anyone else is using this method I'd like to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Cheers

Stewart.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pruning citrus?

September 2016
I confess, I've got bugger all experience and not much of a clue when it comes to pruning citrus and reading and watching experts on the topic has left me to conclude not very many other people do either.

So I've managed to cobble  together several seemingly vital bits of information and form my own approach which may or may not work.

So far it hasn't but I'll keep tweaking it until I've got something that works for me.

Why do I want to prune my Mandy? Two main reasons,
  1. The space where my mandy is growing is on the smallish side and it was beginning to dominate the space and
  2.  I only want to be able to pick fruit I can reach so keeping it pruned down to below the height of my shed will be my  ideal height.






June 2017

The experts! 

There seems to be three streams of thought when it comes to pruning.

1st is from Gardening Australia's 'Mr Citrus' - Ian Tolley. You can read what he has to say here,  Gardening Australia's 'Mr Citrus' - Ian Tolley

2nd is along the lines of a late Autumn or early Winter prune and a late Spring early Summer trim. This is the method I'm trying now.

3rd is to prune in thirds as in only hard pruning one third per year as a means to keep the overall height under control. I started trying this but couldn't make it work for me.

Now I need to wait and see if I get any flowers and if they set fruit. There is a line of thinking that this kind of pruning leads to excessive and vigerous growth at the expense of fruit. Time will tell.

Anyone got any suggestions for me? I love to hear them.

Cheers

Stewart.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Diggers Team at Queensland Garden Expo

The excitment's building for this years Queensland Garden Expo.

The Queensland Garden Expo is becoming something of a pilgrimage for me. I'm going again this year which will make it my fourth year in a row.
And after this years visit to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show I would rate it very highly.

If you're heading up this year I hope you enjoy the show as much as I know I will.


Queensland Garden Expo is a ‘must see’ in 2017 for green thumbs and novice gardeners alike. Held in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Nambour from 7th to 9th July, this three day expo is Queensland’s premier gardening event attracting 35,000 + visitors from all over Australia and New Zealand. Some of Australia’s leading Gardening experts take part in three days of lectures, demonstrations and workshops.

See plants, plants and more plants with over 55 nurseries represented and over 360 exhibitors. There is a full program of free lectures and demonstrations on eight "live" stages every day covering a vast array of gardening topics. Head to the ‘Gardeners and Gourmets’ stage for some great tips on growing your own produce and turning it into delicious gourmet meals. The ‘Giant Kitchen Garden’ features a totally organic food court with a fully planted sustainable garden constructed onsite. Get free help with gardening problems and plant identification from the onsite Plant Clinic and be inspired by the fantastic arrangements in the Floral Design Competition.

The Diggers team will be there at site 108! Don't miss out on Keith Edwards, our Landscape Designer who will be on The Banksia Stage, Sunday June 9th giving his expertise on Heirlooms!


Location:  Coronation Avenue, Nambour
Operates: Friday 7th, Saturday 8th & Sunday 9 July, 2017. Gates open 8am daily.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

the salad garden by joy larkcom. A book review.

Two hundred and eighty-seven pages packed full of salady, delicious information.

I did find the title of this book 'The salad garden' a little ambiguous seeing as this book is much, much more than just growing 'salad' plants.

A comprehensive and thoroughly detailed book, it runs the full course of what to grow and how to grow plants for the veggie garden, broken up into seven chapters including,
  • Leafy Salad Plants, which is what I thought this book was going to be all about. (Lettuce, Chard & Spinach etc.)
  • Brassica Tribe. (Cabbage and Kale etc.)
  • Oriental Greens. (Chinese Cabbage, Pak Choy & Mustards etc.)
  • Stems and Stalks. (Celery & Kohl rabi etc)
  • Fruiting Vegetables. (Tomato, cucumber & peppers, etc)
  • The Onion Family.
  • Root Vegetables.
Other chapters included are
  • Finishing Touches (Herbs and Flowers) 
  • Garden Practicalities, where Joy gets down and dirty covering design, compost, Manure and fertilizers to name a few.
  • Last but not least, Salad Making.

A guide to growing more than 200 salad plants,The Salad Garden covers all you need to know, from site preparation to harvesting, detailing special planting techniques, advice on the best varieties (for growing and for flavour) and plenty of tips and tricks for bountiful crops. Joy Larkcom also shows you how to create a beautiful potager garden, with tips such as training tomatoes up attractive spiral supports, planting for theatrical height and edible seed pods.

About the Author

JOY LARKCOM is one of Britain's most respected vegetable garden makers and gardening writers. She has contributed to many magazines and newspapers, radio and TV programmes and has lectured all over the world. Her accolades include the Garden Writer of the Year award (three times); Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden Writers' Guild in 2003, and the Veitch Memorial Medal for horticulture, the RHS's highest honour, in 1993. Her other titles for Frances Lincoln are Oriental Vegetables and The Organic Salad Garden.


The first book is the fully revised and updated edition of the ‘book of the century’, The Salad Garden by Joy Larkcom. When The Salad Garden was first published in 1984, it was heralded as a game changer by gardeners, chefs and the professional growers who supplied restaurants and supermarkets. In the 30 years since ‘Salad Garden’ burst on the scene, the pace of life has accelerated, and changes have taken place in the horticultural world. This fully revised and updated edition recognises the growing numbers of gardeners with small spaces, and emphasises techniques and varieties suited to patios, window boxes, containers, and small raised beds. Updates include the latest, improved varieties of salad plants, as well as new plants such as Cucamelon, marsh plant Salsola, ‘February orchid’ and exciting new types of sorrel, salad rocket, cabbage and kales among others. Similarly the recipes have been updated with a more contemporary feel, reflecting changes in eating habits; classic recipes rub shoulders with imaginative new ideas. 


Available from Booktopia and other leading book stores.

 Bursting full of useful information for the veggie gardener.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Compost, Composted and Composting

Here's a couple of posts doing the rounds on Facebook and I thought how they go hand in hand.

I'm about to purchase my fourth Gedye compost bin so I don't need any convincing about the virtues  composting, it's getting enough materials and bins together where I struggle.

I've also rediscovered my enthusiasm for compost after watching a YouTube video on No-dig gardening by Charles Dowding. 




"It breaks our hearts to throw this much food away". Craig Reucassel visits a Banana Farm and discovers how much fruit is thrown away before it even hits the supermarkets. #WarOnWasteAU



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Check the Date, Stewart!

Wow, I really need to take more notice of dates. Somehow I thought this was on last weekend, which it wasn't, which is good because I would've missed it but now I get another chance next weekend. Yeh for me.

Queensland Herb Society, link


Monday, May 15, 2017

Spring Photography Holiday!

 Your Spring Photography Holiday sorted.

 Plus you get me as your driver and avid garden nut!


Friday, May 12, 2017

Better late than never.

I'm a little (big) bit late with this given that it us only about a day and a half away, but as they say, better late than never.

The Queensland Herb Society is again gearing up for the Annual Herb Awareness day held on
Sunday 28th May 2017. It is a great event for everyone who wants to learn more about growing and using herbs. Plenty of potted herbs and herb related products available on the day, including yummy herb inspired food. Pencil it in your diary. http://www.qldherbsociety.org.au/

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Gardener's Companion to MEDICINAL PLANTS

An A-Z Of Healing Plants And Home Remedies.

A fun yet informative little book, (A5, Hard cover, 224 pages), with recipes and how to prepare remedies for plants such as, Yarrow glycerin to aid digestion and ease the symptoms of hay-fever through to Sweet violet syrup traditionally used for a sore throat or cough. Along with twenty-two other recipes including Calendula lip balm, Liquorice sweets and Rosehip syrup.


Aside from the multiple entries for recipes and how to use plants for their medicinal properties there is also chapters on their Growing, History, Weeds as Medicine and Drugs from Plants among others.

The photo on your left is one example of more than 270 plants listed, that occur throughout the book and includes the botanical and common names of the plant and which parts of the plant to use, leaves, flowers, etc. It also has traditional uses and medicinal discoveries.


 If you are in anyway interested in the medicinal use of plants and herbs or just curious then I'd suggest this would be a useful, fun and informative addition to your library or as a gift to a friend or colleague.

To give added weight to the authority of this book it has been produced by The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and written by Monique Simmonds, Melanie-Jayne Howes & Jason Irving.

Another review you might find helpful. Garden Drum. 

Available from Booktopia and other leading book stores,

Cheers

Stewart.



















Sunday, April 23, 2017

Right tool for the job

For something that, in my mind, was going to be a simple job, slowly turned into much more but I got it in the end.

I'd had these two backhoe/tractor tyres in the veggie garden for some time now after a work friend picked them up and dropped them off for me.

The goal was/is to make a cheap raised bed out of them but I wanted to cut the sidewall out of the tyres first so as to increase the growing area available.

I'd had a few feeble goes at removing the sidewalls with hand tools with no success and ended up walking past them for months hoping for some magical solution to come along and bite me. None did.

A few weeks ago now it all got the better of me and I started adding some serious thinking to getting the sidewalls removed.

Eventually I decided that a reciprocating saw was the answer. Which, as it turns out was the solution I was looking for. The problem was getting the right reciprocating saw for the job.

As you can see in the video I started off with a cordless Ryobi reciprocating saw proving that I had the right tool but sadly the Ryobi burnt out just after where the video finished.

Back to square one

I returned the Ryobi to Bunnings and hit up the local hire company, Master Hire, who supplied me with this little rip snorter from Hitachi.

Carved it up like a hot knife through butter. I'd finished inside of half an hour, job done.

I just need to line the inside of the tyres with a food grade plastic to prevent any nasty chemicals leaching into the bed and possible being taken up through the plants root systems.




Saturday, April 15, 2017

Twelve Apostles

This has absolutely nothing to do with veggies but it does have everything to do with me having a blast in a helicopter flying over the twelve apostles on my recent holiday to Victoria.

If you ever get the chance to take a helicopter flight over the twelve apostles then I highly recommend you do it.

 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Interesting chooky facts

I picked up a copy of the current pip, Australian Permaculture (issue #7), magazine and it's chock full of chooky goodness, but, what I found interesting was the Editoral by Robyn Rosenfeldt, full of interesting chooky facts.

facts like
  • The earliest evidence of domestication is believed to date back to 5400BCE in China.
  • Evidence of domestication has also been found dating back thousands of years in Iran, Pakistan, India, Africa, and North and South America.
  • All chickens have descended from the red jungle fowl of South-East Asia.
  • Around 800 BCE ancient Egyptians were artificially incubating eggs and at the same time, Romans were experimenting with dishes such as omelettes and stuffed chickens ans using farming practices to fatten birds for eating.
Chickens were oftenheld in religious esteem where they were worshipped and often they were used as oracles and omens in times of war.

There you go, I'm going to grab a nice cuppa and sit down and read all about chooks plus a myriad of other useful and interesting articles.

Cheers.

Yours in chookyness.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Clucky as ....

I just had to post this after I saw it on facebook.

I have some Golden Wyandottes and while they are a pretty bird to look at, they are poor layers.

They will go 'clucky' at the drop of a hat and I have, at times, found all four in a box sitting on eggs.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Cheers

Stewart


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Gardener's Companion to Medicinal Plants

This landed in my mail box yesterday.

First and quick impressions are impressive. To start with it's a hard cover, always a winner for me, A5 and beautifully illustrated.

I'll read through it oven the next few weeks and get back with a review.

What follows is copied from Quarto Knows web site.

Description
The Gardener's Companion to Medicinal Plants is a beautifully illustrated giftable gardening reference book, which combines exquisite botanical illustrations with practical self-help projects. Every day sees a discovery in the press about the new uses of plants, and it's certain that most of our most important drugs are derived from plants. From willow (used to procure aspirin) to periwinkle (used in chemotherapy to treat lymphoma) many common garden plants have provided cures in modern medicine. In this book readers can discover more than 200 life-saving plants and 25 home-grown remedies to make themselves. Each home cure is described and illustrated with step-by-step photographs to show how you can be a gardener and heal yourself.

Cheers and later,

Stewart.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Daughter

Recently my enthusiasm for the veggie garden and growing veggies has been waning, hopefully that's about to change.

There's been various reasons for this but at the top of the list I've been finding it difficult to grow veggies just for myself.

It seems like a lot of effort to grow just one bean bush or three carrots at a time. Also the weather, aka, the rain gods, have fallen asleep at the wheel and apart from one 75 mm fall on the 3rd of January we've had nothing worth counting since the first week of September last year. And on top of all that we've also had an endless run of above 30° plus temperatures including a record 40° day in February. And on my porous red soil that makes it almost impossible to grow much without a lot of extra work mulching and shading plants from the hot sun and not to mention a water bill that makes buying veggies a more common sense idea.

Over the last two or so weeks that has changed. The temperatures are starting to drop, hopefully, and after a recent conversation with my daughter where she expressed her desire to eat more fresh veggies I'm feeling inspired to grow again.

The plan is to see if I can grow a basket of fresh veggies a week that I can take to my daughter that she can then use in her cooking.

I'll keep it simple at first with beans, beetroot, carrots, a few radish some lettuce and a turnip or two.

I’m also looking forward to taking a basket full of bounty over and discussing possible uses and recipes for the veggies with her.

My long term goal is to sneakily get her enthused about fresh veggies to the point where she will want to learn how to grow her own.

Coming into the cooler months there will also be an opportunity to get some herbs and leafy greens in as well, things like silverbeet, spinach, coriander, and parsley.

Very keen to see how all this works out. I'll keep you informed of my progress.

There's also something else that's been inspiring me too but I'll leave that for another day.

Cheers

Stewart

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Organic Gardener. Mar/Apr.

For the few of you who don't read the Organic gardener magazine then I'd like to recommend the Mar/Apr 2017 edition.

Mine came in the mail yesterday so it won't be long before it hits the newsagents. 

I spent the morning reading it from cover to cover and feel so much wiser.

There's a great feature on 'Urban Farming' a growing trend world wide.

Plus
  •  Paul West suggest a plan for growing year round vegies
  • How to grow and use parsley
  • Growing Leeks
  • Raising Quail
  • Putting up barriers to stop critters eating your produce. 
  • Recipes
  • What to do for autumn
And on and on it goes.

Probably the most jam packed and informative issue I've read for a while. 

Do yourself a favour and grab a copy!

Cheers

Stewart.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Seasol "Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner."

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and natureIt's not very often I'll go out of my way to actively promote a product but when I find one that works then I don't mind giving them a shout out.

The product I'm talking about is Seasol "Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner."

I find that during and after the high temperatures of Summer my soil is baked and forms an impervious to water crust. It doesn't matter if I mulch or try break up the crust by cultivating the soil surface, I can't get water to soak in. But after one or two applications of #Seasol "Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner" and all bets are off.

The soil just drinks up any water I apply to the garden and the veggies love it.

Exhibit A. Corn that I recently planted was growing well after three inches of rain but a run of over thirty degree days saw a tough to wet crust form. Fifty millimeters of Seasol in a nine litre watering can applied over the soil surface and we're back in business and the corn is loving the heat.

 So, if, like me, you are having trouble getting your soil to take up the water you're putting on your garden then I'd recommend giving some #Seasol "Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner" a go.

Cheers

Stewart.

















Sunday, January 8, 2017

Corn!

Whoo woo, the corn's a ready.

Somehow on minimum rain and watering I still managed a few cobs of corn (there's more to come).

As far as I'm concerned, even if you've climbed Mt Everest or swum the English Channel, you haven't lived until you've eaten a freshly picked cob of backyard corn.






Oh, and it's still not too late to plant some, though from seed might be a stretch, depending on your climate, but bung in a punnet of seedlings and away you go.

Cheers,

Stewart.